Goodreads entry for The Secret Fire:
"French teen Sacha Winters can't die. He can throw himself off a roof, be stabbed, even shot, and he will always survive. Until the day when history and ancient enmities dictate that he must die. Worse still, his death will trigger something awful. Something deadly. And that day is closing in.
Taylor Montclair is a normal English girl, hanging out with her friends and studying for exams, until she starts shorting out the lights with her brain. She’s also the only person on earth who can save Sacha.
There’s only one problem: the two of them have never met. They live hundreds of miles apart and powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart.
They have eight weeks to find each other.
Will they survive long enough to save the world?"
The Secret Fire is written by C.J. Daugherty and Carina Rozenfeld, both successful authors in their own right in their home countries. Whatever magical being brought these two together should be adulated and adored, because The Secret Fire builds in a slow but believable way, with a fantastic blend of suspense and character-building. There is only a smidge of romance, and the magical systems are brought to light AFTER we get to know the main characters. Well, there is the fact that Sacha jumps off a building in the very first chapter, but the magic itself isn't really explained until much later, and it makes sense. Daugherty and Rozenfeld should be commended for their sense of timing--it's as deft as their characterization.
The only bone I have to pick is the rather obvious following of the hero cycle, in which a certain character expires before passing knowledge to the up-and-comers. But following the hero cycle is hit-or-miss. It makes some events predictable, but when done correctly, can make a story resonate with power as well. However, that is a judgement I'll have to reserve until after the next book has come out, since the narrative is incomplete. And I'm excited to read the sequel--this is definitely my kind of story!
Gentle Reader Alert: If you have any sensitivities to French swear words, be warned that the text contains quite a few.